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Pachinko Machines - What are They Really?

The Pachinko machines have taken over the world by storm and especially Japan. Today there are thousands of Pachinko parlors which can be found in Japan and these are rapidly becoming quite popular even in the US and in other parts of the world.

What are the Pachinko machines?

Pachinko machines offer games which are like vertical pinball. The board itself is covered with several pins, holes and obstacles. There are small steel balls which are dropped in the machine and the winnings from the machine can be converted either into cash or in other prizes like instant noodles, chocolates, cigarettes etc. however, due to the restrictions on gambling in Japan any player who wants to exchange the winnings for cash will have to do that at a money exchange location.

The Pachinko parlors sprung up in Japan post-war and today there are more than 18,000 pachinko parlors all across Japan. People can access these parlors easily and addiction is quite a common problem. However, the pachinko parlors are still popular.

History of the pachinko machines

A game quite similar to pachinko with different balls to be dropped in different scored holes had been developed in the early 1900s and had become quite popular in several parts of Japan. There had also been a similar game which had been brought from the US and along with it, both of these combined to form the first ever pachinko game. Before the Second World War, the game had been stopped and until 1946 it had not been resurrected in Nagoya.

It was only then that the vertical version of pachinko began. At the time the prizes which were offered were small luxury items which were otherwise not available. In the 1980s a computerized version of the pachinko had been introduced and it became an instant hit. The game became irresistible to the players and even the balls had been released electronically in the machine.

Several pachinko parlors in Japan have information booths which give information on what machines have done what in the last 24 hours and so on. Today, players can also play pachinko on the internet. The largest number of pachinko parlors are in Tokyo but Nagoya is still considered to be the pachino center of Japan since Takeichi Masamura, the father of Pachinko was a native of Nagoya. It was he who had been responsible for the earlier versions of the pachinko machines.

The Pachinko parlors

More than half of the pachinko parlors which can be found in Japan today are run by Korean descended Japanese who earn through these machines and send the money back to Korea. The rest are run by the Japanese or Chinese. One of the biggest noteworthy factors about the pachinko parlors is the level of noise. There are endless pinging noises of the metal balls, the Nintendo music and even the high pitched people which all add up. The parlors all have very bright neon lights which make them all look like large Las Vegas casinos or supermarkets.